The International Association of Dredging Companies (IADC) has just revealed the 6th nominee for its Safety Award 2017 – the Jan De Nul Group’s Controlled Connection of Floating Pipelines.
The manual process of connecting floating pipelines has always been a risky task. Calm water conditions and competent skippers, deckhands and crane operators are required to prevent possible incidents or injuries, said IADC.
Jan De Nul Group has developed the controlled alternative following multiple technical reviews and trials with crew.
The connection ends of the floating pipeline strings are set-up within a pair of catamaran pontoons. Between a cutter suction dredger and floating pipelines, the connection process involves an especially-engineered tool in the pipe ring’s lug to keep the ring straight while a fibre rope pulls the ends of the pipelines closer.
The ends are secured together with a hydraulic quick fit connection.
With the process limited by 120m-long pipeline strings at the end of pontoons, the result is easier access within the pontoon work space, leading to better project planning and reduced risk of open water operations.
Although the overall system is 10 per cent more expensive, the combination of reducing interrupted production periods due to bad weather conditions and employee accidents has led to its welcomed reception by crew in field operations.
Ongoing tests and user feedback have already led to planned innovations such as making the process remote controllable and using solar-powered hydraulic packs for added efficiency and sustainability.